The Iowa Hawkeyes played host this week to Baltimore, MD (The Gilman School) linebacker Jim Poggi. He spoke to the HawkeyeNation staff about his visit.
"This guy named Ron drove us from the airport to Iowa City." Poggi, a Class of 2010 4-star LB said. "He was a really nice guy; that set the tone for the whole trip."
While on his first trip to the Midwest, Jim and his father Biff - his high school coach - noticed many differences. But, for the younger Poggi, different was/is good.
"Iowa City is small, which is something I am not used to." He said. "It is clean and very nice there. You get that ‘homey' and welcome feel when you are there. The people all want to say hello to you. That is not what I am used to at home."
The only thing Jim knew about the Midwest, is that it is small, flat, and there are a lot of farms. When you come from a city the size of Baltimore, smaller is a definite change. For Jim, it was a change for the better.
"It was better there than I thought." Jim says surprisingly. "The flatness of the fields was amazing. You could see for miles. It was beautiful."
He was also able to see Iowa City as well. His first meeting with the coaching staff at Iowa was a good one. Poggi's family is familiar with one of the coaches at Iowa in particular.
"Coach (Kirk) Ferentz knows my dad from a while back." He said. "Brian (Kirk's older son) played for my dad at Gilman for two years when Coach Ferentz was with the Ravens. They (Coach Ferentz and Coach Poggi) have remained in close contact ever since."
The Poggi's and Coach Ferentz got to catch up on old times during the visit. Jim noticed something different about the Iowa recruiting approach to other schools.
"Coach just wanted to talk about me." Jim says. "He wanted to know how I was doing and how things were back in Baltimore. He really didn't talk much about football."
Poggi met with Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson and toured the football facilities. Additionally, he was able to view the Business school and the Education building(s) - one of which will be his major.
"All of those guys are great." Poggi said. "I have been texting Pat and Tarp ever since I left. Those guys made me feel like I was 15 feet tall while I was there. They also say Coach (Ferentz) is the greatest man they know. That is pretty good for me to hear."
Poggi plans to make a return trip to Iowa City in two or three weeks. He will be making the trip with his brother.
"I just want to see the campus life in Iowa a little more." Poggi laughed. "It is weird because you see mopeds everywhere. There are 300 pound guys riding these little mopeds. That is hilarious."
NOTE: At the time Poggi committed to Iowa, he had scholarship offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia and others, and was receiving strong interest from Texas. Poggi also relayed to us later Sunday evening that he was not going to be taking any more visits, and that he is firmly a Hawkeye.